McLaren to give Piastri more tests in new year

2022 F1 season

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McLaren’s new driver Oscar Piastri will get as much track time as possible before testing to help prepare him for his rookie season, says team principal Andreas Seidl.

Piastri – formerly an Alpine junior driver – did not race this season after winning the 2021 Formula 2 championship. McLaren signed him for 2023 after the British Grand Prix in July, to replace Daniel Ricciardo.

Piastri completed multiple test days in Alpine’s 2021-spec A521 over the course of the year. Alpine then allowed McLaren to give him a day’s running in one of their year-old cars at Paul Ricard, in order to prepare him to drive for his new team in the post-season tyre test day in Abu Dhabi.

Following Piastri’s first experience of a 2022 car, Seidl says McLaren plan more outings for him before pre-season testing for 2023 begins.

“I’m sure we will look also into giving him some mileage in the old car again in January or February,” Seidl said. “Simply to make sure he’s used to the Formula 1 machinery as much as possible with all the limitations you have nowadays in terms of testing.”

With Piastri joining McLaren as a rookie next season, Seidl says the team aim to ensure he is as well-prepared to race as possible before the first round in Bahrain.

“With next year’s car, the objective is clear: We want to make sure that with the hard work we put in together with him, that he goes to the first race in Bahrain and it doesn’t actually feel like the first race for him,” Seidl explained.

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“It’s a lot of hard work ahead of us. But we’re an experienced team, we know exactly which boxes we have to tick. Oscar’s a very talented driver – a great personality as well, a great character, so we’re looking forward to getting going with him.”

McLaren opted to conclude its contract with Ricciardo a year early due to his consistent underperformance relative to his team mate, Lando Norris. However, Ricciardo’s personality and work ethic earned praise from his team principal. Seidl says that he expects to enjoy an equally strong relationship with Piastri next season.

“Obviously, each each driver is different. Different personality, different character,” Seidl said.

“That could end up in, let’s say, a different relationship also between the two guys. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that one or the other type of relationship is a better or a worse one. In the end, the way Lando is – as a guy, as a character, as a person, as a driver – the way we got to know Oscar so far, I don’t expect any issues there.

“We have one common mission together. We want to make sure that with the work everyone is putting in and the commitment everyone is putting in, that we simply keep moving forward as a team.

“Because in order to fulfil our dreams – the dreams of the two guys – we need to end up in being the best team in the paddock and have the best car available. In order to do that, you need a lot of teamwork between everyone involved and that will be the focus.”

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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6 comments on “McLaren to give Piastri more tests in new year”

  1. Very surprised they’re not taking part in Pirellis winter tyre test, would have been an ideal opportunity for him to drive a current car

    1. @the-edge Indeed, given that 2022-spec car can prepare considerably better for next season than 2021-spec machinery designed under previous aero rules.

    2. I believe McLaren are no longer in it to win it. Since Ron left they’ve been more focused on the commercial side of things. That’s why they set 4th as a goal to them and still they lose. It is a very bad mentality imo that we see back in them not taking part in the Pirelli test.

  2. So more MCL35M runs for him & probably in Southern Europe, be that Circuit Paul Ricard again, Algarve, Spanish, or even Italian circuit.

  3. McLaren have thrown a Hail Mary with this guy.
    He’s not proven at this level, & he’s shown that he’s not a team player with any loyalty to anyone but himself.
    This could backfire spectacularly & they could be hoping they still had Daniel
    … & in away they deserve that.

    1. A bit harsh, I think. Piastri has won three consecutive world championships in his first year at each level. Alpine kept him on ice for a year and the best they could offer was a couple of years at Williams and – maybe – an Alpine seat in 2025. I think he was well justified in taking the offer from McLaren.

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